Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Spokane Doesn't Suck

Hello friends,

Here we are again. Sorry it has been a while since my last post but I have had some major life changes over the break. Mainly, I moved! Now I don't mean I moved like I got a new studio, or a few towns over... no. I moved cross country. New England to the Pacific Northwest. One extreme to the next. Though I loved my time in Boston it was time to move on and settle down somewhere that was a bit more realistic for Scott and I. We wanted to be closer to family and Spokane had a job for Scott. So here we are! It has been a crazy adjustment for us but we are finally settling into a groove. Its not Pittsburgh (my hometown) nor is it Boston but for now it's Home sweet home.

One surprising thing about life in Spokane is that not everyone is thrilled to be here... Literally there is a social media campaign going on right now (#Spokanedoesntsuck) just for people to try an show how awesome Spokane can be. There are that many haters that people have to rally the troops and make a statement! Let me tell you, that Spokane may not be Seattle but it does have its moments. It is beautiful. There are trees everywhere and the rolling hills are great. I can't say that I love everything about it, but who loves everything about their town? Anyway back to art...

The first thing I did in our new town was search for any and all art gathers. Though I missed a few deadlines for a couple shows (by 2 days!) I was able to apply and get into Art on the Ave. Its a street festival where businesses open up and artists take over! Over 40 artists participated in the event and there was non stop traffic in the businesses. The day was so much fun. There was an Elvis impersonator, coffee stands, public art and just tons of stuff to see. I was lucky enough to be paired with Era Vintage Home. Please check them out- especially if you are one of my Spokane people. You will love it. They have awesomely retro furniture, dishes, cabinets, trinkets, clothing, and everything in between. My vintage inspired artwork was right at home in their store!

Along with a few tried and true works I also brought a few new pieces that I created all inspired by the move. Scott and I drove cross country in 5 days. I was inspired every step along the way. Who knew Utah was so beautiful? I have so many source photos and everyday am creating something new.

A few of my pieces sold but I still have more in my inventory that I would like to move! My Etsy site has a couple of the available pieces for sale. And right now (until Thanksgiving 2015) you can get a print or panel from PaperSlip for 20% off with coupon code ArtAve. AND if you don't see a print you are looking for send me a message. I would be happy to put up a special listing just for you!

I am excited about the new changes in my life. I'm stressed, and I'm not sure if I'm making the right choices always, but I am excited for what life is going to send my way.

Here's to Spokane and our new, sparkly, future together.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Portland: The Portland of the East Coast

As you can guess I get really attached to things. People, places, things, food, feelings... I hold onto something and I just cant get enough. One of these places is a jewel of a city in Maine.

I love Portland Maine. It is a fantastic city with awesome food, great art, and wonderful people. If I could just pick up and move there without any consequences I would do so in a heartbeat. It's the perfect combination of historical and contemporary, with a laid back and slightly hipster feel. I first visited a year ago with my husband as an anniversary weekend. We both fell in love with the city... and the donuts... and the poutine. So when we had the opportunity to have a go away weekend, Portland was the first place on our minds.

We got to visit all of the old places we love... Holy Donut, Blue Rooster, Speckled Ax.. and we got to visit some new places too... Silly's and Grace. If you are ever in Portland make sure you at least get to Blue Rooster and order the Rooster Blue with tator tot poutine. It is my "last meal on this earth" selection. Its that good. Scott and I once drove over 3 hours to get to Melt in Cleveland for a grilled cheese craving... I would do the same for this sandwich. Grace is an old church that was converted into a high end restaurant. The menu was very creative and the space is amazing. I went in thinking about Church Brewworks in Pittsburgh, PA (another church turned eatery) which was actually not a good idea. The food was great but very spendy and I kept thinking about CBW and how much I loved that... So is it a place to go to? Sure.. but for us its a one time visit!

The one downside of the trip was that I was getting over an unknown sickness, so I didn't take as many photos as I would have liked and my head wasn't clear the entire trip. Miraculously I did manage to capture a few shots that I love. Funny enough four of these are of the same three little huts on the edge of the sea but when something is so beautiful you have to take a lot of photos. Some will remain as is, but I feel a few will turn into something else... I am thinking about transfers and more mixed media.

Black and White photograph of the Portland Lighthouse

Three huts peaking out through the fog

A closer look at the huts. I am in love with that shape right now

A single kayak paddling through the fog

A peaceful spot to stop and think

Monday, May 18, 2015

Working on something a tad different

If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.

Gaston Bachelard

Recently I have had this obsession with houses. What they are made of, who lives in them, why they were created, and how they become forgotten in some cases. They are completely inanimate and yet so full of stories. Most people move about 16 times in their life. That means 16 different homes or apartments. 16 places each person is attached too. Just think about how many families those homes can claim! 

Anyway, I have been a bit occupied with thinking about homes and our relationships with them that I decided to do a new series. Inspired by my abandoned homes series this one is more abstract and simplistic. Instead of focusing on the characteristics of different homes I'm using an abstracted house shape to represent homes and the emotions that people tie into their living quarters. Some of these homes are tightly assembled, some are alone in a field, others seem to drift away at sea… but each has a story. 

On a practical level this project is allowing me to work both on my digital work while dabbling back into acrylic painting. I took a few painting classes in and out of school but I tended to shy away from them. It was only after following a few painters online (via instagram) that I decided that I needed to give it another go. While I hope to get more into painting, right now, it is acting as just an accent to my work.

Here are a few of the images i'm working on. 

New News!

I've also decided that in order to get back into painting I am going to attempt to paint in the style of different artists. About once a month I will select an artist on instagram and feature their work along side a piece that I attempted. ATTEMPT is the key work. I am not a painter and this project is not to rip off an artist but to show the artists that inspire me, while learning from their work. If you have an artist you think I should feature or try please let me know! I would love to here from you!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New work alert! Wawoowawooo! (alarm noise...)

This week I have been really missing Pittsburgh. Most specifically missing the architecture and textures of the city. I am in a stage where I need more source material. I need to go out and take pictures find more letters, buy some books.. i am running LOW. But I have been so unmotivated to do so. After all the snow we have had in Boston I can't imagine going into the city. I want no part in finding parking, driving down even more narrow streets, and lets face it... this snow has made Bostonian's even more cranky. Now I will say that the snow is melting and things aren't as bad anymore but I still can't get myself down 95. So instead I think about how easy it would be to drive around Pittsburgh. True fact, Pittsburgh drivers are the nicest drivers. They let people make left hand turns, talk to each other at lights, and are just great. I imagine driving around, seeing something, throwing on my flashers, getting the picture I need, and going on with my day. Here I get cursed at if I so much as stop for a pedestrian... which is the law by the way! Anyway. I am not feeling Boston right now and I'm missing Pittsburgh and I have images from my last trip home so i'm making a series of abandoned buildings inspired by da burgh. 

I love this building
I am really digging these few pieces. Once I get over my Boston driving fear I plan on taking a trip to explore buildings around MA. Hopefully I can do at least ten of these. Each building seems to have its own personality and it is so much fun figuring them out. The building in the above photo just look so proud, like she has her head raised high, even though she isn't in the best shape. Whereas the building below seems to be sinking into itself.. almost like its slouching. (Maybe I need to spend more time with adults and less time with pictures of buildings...)

I have a weakness... and it is clouds.

Once I have a few more images I will be printing a set of these off. I'm thinking about printing both on Luster and Matte paper. All images will be 11x14. Keep tuned for more information on these and other pieces in this series! Hopefully one of these days I will get my act together and get some pieces in a shop online. Now I just need to figure out which site is best. Does anyone use anything other than Etsy these days? Is Etsy still relevant? Let me know what you think.

Song of the hour- Hot Volcano by Pearl and the Beard. Truthfully I've listened to it on repeat for the past hour. This is a power song for me.. I get a lot done. Really anything with Pearl and the Beard. These abandoned building pieces seem to just appear when P&TB is on. weird. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Fantastic Finish

So the canvases are in and the images still look great! (If I do say so myself!) I am beyond excited. When they first came in we realized that the laminated logo no longer fit with the other pieces. It was way to shiny and needed to be toned down considerably. Also All of the canvases came about 1 1/2" away form the wall and the logo was going to be flush. At first we didn't think it would matter since the quilts would too be up against the wall fairly flat, but after seeing everything laid out we knew that we would have to give the logo some depth. 

Just look at the shine.

I addressed the first problem with my one stop problem solving shop... Matte Medium. A few coats and it was less abrasive. To give it height I decided to go to a local frame shop that MaryAnn suggested. I found a frame that was 1" deep and had a beautiful espresso finish. The molding is extremely simple and yet very classic. The cool part about this particular shop is that you get to join and fit the piece yourself.. this saves you a bit of money and is just fun to be able to do the piece from start to finish!

I even got to join the frame!

Last Sunday the church had a huge celebration for the end of construction and renovations. It was so exciting to show people my work. I haven't had the opportunity before then to show people I spend Sundays with what I do. I was very happy with the feedback. 

Here are some images that I stole from Mary Ann's blog... I went in on Monday to take photos but they had to take everything down to repaint the wall behind the artwork... oh well. Everything will be back in place soon.

The entryway.

All of the pieces together. I love the way the quilts and art look together!

I am so grateful to be a part of this project. Its nice to know that even when I leave Boston (eventually) there will still be a piece of me left behind. tear.

The artists.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Three Year Project- The Final

Hello Friends!

So I thought I would do a post about how I make some of my pieces. This particular piece started in 2013 while I was on vacation with the Patron in Washington State. While driving from Spokane to Seattle I couldn't believe how open everything was. Being from Pittsburgh, wide open spaces are a bit foreign to me. In PGH everything is right on top of each other. One of my favorite things about the city is that it looks like homes are toppling down hillsides or sprouting up from riverbanks. Needless to say Washington was a bit of a shock. I went to school in Ohio so I am not new to farmland... but WOW! We drove for miles and didn't see one tree. I was taken by how large the sky was and how open the roads were. It was peaceful and awesome (literal sense of the word). I took photos as we drove knowing that I would revisit them when I returned to MA. 

Once I got home I forgot about the pictures. I got caught up in returning to everyday life that I didn't see the photos until a few months later. Once I fell in love with them again, I created a 24 x 24 square image (dimensions picked at total random). A few weeks later I found three 8 x 24 canvases at a local craft and art supply store. I loved the feel of the dimensions. Small but still powerful. Big enough to hold the images but still intimate.

The printed 8x8 squares a bit too shiney for my liking.
 I separated the 24x24 image into 9 8x8 pieces. Once printed (I happened to print on glossy paper though the final result has a matte appearance) I attached the images to the canvas using Matte Medium. This took away the gloss finish and sealed the images to the canvas. 

Sometimes you have to be creative when putting weights on a piece... 
The images needed to be weighed down so that the paper wouldn't separate from the canvas while drying. Since the stretcher bars were so close together, books wouldn't fit in this space... luckily for me we had gone on a Yankee Candle spree a few weeks back and the jars fit perfectly!

First coat of medium applied. On;y 16 more to go (just kidding- there is a total of 4 coats)

I get a little paranoid when working off screen. I really wanted these pieces to be secure so I applied several coats of Mod Podge to keep everything in place. I finished the pieces by painting the edges black and sealing everything with a last coat of medium. Because the piece is mostly uncovered paper it can fade easily if not treated. Normally with works on paper you should protect behind UV or museum glass. Since I was treating these panels as paintings I didn't want to introduce glass. I found a UV spray from Krylon called "Preserve It" that seems to do wonders! It protects the work from fading and doesn't ruin my beautiful matte finish. (side note: they do sell Preserve It in a gloss finish as well...  Buy it HERE .... but gloss and I do not work well together right now).

The Final Piece. Currently hung at Gallery 111 in Concord MA.

I am very happy with this project. I ran into some issues along the way- but I am so glad I gave it the time it deserved. Sometimes all you need to do is give projects a little space to breathe... they have a way of sorting their issues out on their own.

If you are interested in this or another piece please visit and send me a message. If you are interested in a one of a kind piece please contact me with your thoughts and I would be happy to work with you to create your own special memory "painting."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Week one of the Adventures of Gwyn the Artist!

Hello All,

So this week has been... busy, hard, fun, scary, exciting, and very rewarding. 

About two weeks ago I was contacted by two women from the church I attend. Our church has been going through a crazy huge building campaign and though its taken a long time, they are nearly done with all the work. Now comes the time when we fill the space with furniture, accessories, and, drum roll, art. Which is where I come in. I was asked to make three 16x20 images of the church and help edit a logo the church has had for a while. Here are the images below:

Over all I am very happy. I feel like I was still able to do my style and I got to experiment with a few new textures and fonts. What I really like about these three images is that I was able to use text and texture from a book the church historian gave to me. It was published in 1968 and its filled with the history of the church. This church is in Lexington MA right on the battle green and let me tell you, there is a LOT of history. I found myself with the issue of having WAY to much source material. Which is an awesome problem to have.

We ordered the prints and they will get in soon! So for now these three pieces are done, but I reserve the right to revisit once I see the canvases printed.

I have a couple of new projects in the works and will be posting about them soon!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Scary Begining

So here we are again,

I find myself at a point in my life where I need to make real decisions. Not like what I'm going to make for diner tonight (stir fry) or what to do for Valentines Day (make a pillow fort and eat pizza with my husband Scott, here on out referred to as The Patron) but decisions I've put off for a long time. Most importantly, deciding what the answer is to the age old question: What do I what to be when I grow up?

Honestly, I have been avoiding this question for a long time now. I dabble, I don't decide. I try a little admin here, do a bit of marketing there, dip my toes in the waters of gallery management but I've never said, "This is it. This is what I'm going to do."

Well, "The time has come", the walrus said, "to talk of many things: of what Gwyn will do and where she will go and how she will spend her time from 9-5 on weekdays, and how she will be fulfilled in her career."

Fine. The walrus didn't say that last part. I add-libbed. Sue me. (please don't whoever owns the rights of Lewis Carroll's work) But friends, today I am going to take the first step in answering those questions.

The Patron always pushes me, in a great way. In a, you can do better, and I believe him because he has so much faith in me, sort of way. And because of him, I am ready to say that I am officially an artist. I am pursuing what I have wanted to pursue for a long time but have been too shy and closed off to do so. My occupation on government forms will now be filled out as artist. And when I get introduced to new people my answer to the question, "What do you do" will either be eat a lot of junk food, or I'm an artist.

Now, those of you who know me may be thinking one of two things, 1. I thought you already were an artist? (Thank you by the way, you had faith in me before I had faith in me) or 2. Gwyn, you are always so hesitant and shy about your work? Are you sure you can do this? (I suppose there is a third response that goes a little something like, Yawn, who cares... but I doubt those people are reading this anyways so I will continue) My answers to these statements are as follows. 1. I have been an artist since I was very little. I used to tell people all the time that I was an artist and that's what I was going to be when I grew up. Somewhere along the line though, I lost faith in myself. I thought that if I wasn't sitting in an office everyday I was not fulfilling my role as a viable part of my community. But i am done with that thinking. I'm ready to go back to the beginning now, or at least back to when I was proud of the goals I set for myself. 2. I am very protective of my art. I find it extremely personal, even when working on a piece for someone else. It's hard for me to lay work out there and not take things personally when people don't like something I've made. That's why I have a hard time talking about what I do and sharing what I am making, which I know is a vital part of being an artist... sharing your work. So, can I do this? I'm not sure... But I am going to push myself harder than I have before, and I'm going to give it a good ol' girl scout try.